“There are no short buses in outer space” and other random thoughts from the Soldier Field 10 Miler

29 05 2011

At 3:50 a.m. when the alarm clock goes off:  “Already?  No way.  OK, guess I’ll get up.”

Jotted into the Notes section on my iPod during the preliminary speeches etc. before firing the starting gun:  “This is really just a training run for the Berlin marathon and in many ways I am not taking it very seriously.  But it sure is hard not to get caught up in everyone else’s sentiment.

“With 15,000 signed up, what a great people watching experience.  I am always amused by the variety of athletes that turn out.  Upon entering the parking lot even the license plates begin the story:  JSTDOIT, RUNBYKE.  These are clearly folks whose entire identities are at one with this sport.  I’m secretly glad I’m not one of them.

“Having arrived at 5:45 a.m. to be assured a parking spot, there is time to kill.  And since it is pretty chilly outside, I hang out in the parking garage for the first hour with the other earlybirds.   While eating my breakfast in the car I eavesdrop on a few small groups sharing stories of past races, opinions about shoes and gear, and hopes for the day ahead.

“Finally making my way through the gathering throngs, I am comforted to see some of us “normals” scattered among the predominance of young sinewy competitors ambitious enough to tackle a 10 mile event.  However, when lining up in my corral behind the “14:00/mile” sign, I note that I am ensconced by the rest of the old, the fat and the slow. Or to quote one of my favorite movies…. Mohammed, Jugdish, Clayton, Sidney and Flounder.

“It reminds me that although I am extremely grateful to this old body for getting me here and that just by showing up I have already bested those who never left the couch, I still have a long way to go.

“Being back here in what is tantamount to the short bus of running at once comforts and shames me.  Two years ago I ran 12:00-13:00 paces depending upon the distance.  Now I’m older, fatter, slower —  both embarrassed and determined to get fast enough again to return to this event or another with a better position next year.  I’ll bet there are no short buses in outer space.

“I’m grateful that it’s a cool day with overcast skies so at least the usual rivers of sweat will not be a distraction.  I really hope we get going soon.

While waiting the 30 MINUTES it took for my corral to advance to the start line after the official gun:  “Seriously?  What am I doing here?  I could have done a 10 mile training run at home.  I’m cold and it’s windy.  Let’s get moving.”

When at mile 1.2 on my Garmin I observe the elites running toward me as they return from the turnaround at Mile 5, nearly done with the race I have barely started:  “Wow.”


Training done in the past week:

Friday — a rest day

Thursday —  4.3 miles of speed intervals

Wednesday — personal trainer session, worked on core and legs

Tuesday — “active rest”, about 4 hours of gardening

Diet progress in the past week:

4 “Perfect Days” as previously defined.  2 mediocre days and one I’d like to forget.